General English


  • A solid section, other than flat product, rod, or wire sections, furnished in straight lengths and usually made by extrusion; but sometimes fabricated by drawing.
  • A solid section other than regular rod, bar, plate, sheet, strip, or flat wire. It may be oval, half oval, half round, triangular, pentagonal, orof any special cross section furnished in straight lengths.
  • A wrought product that is long in relation to the dimensions of its cross section, which is of a form other than that of sheet, plate, rod, bar, tube, or wire.
  • To give a profile or detail to a piece of work, such as providing a board with a head or rounded edge.
  • To work on a piece of wood or other material to make it conform to a predetermined desired or required pattern, or to render from its surface a specific texture or degree of smoothness.


  • verb to get oneself in position to play a particular stroke, but without necessarily executing the shot successfully
    Citation ‘A brutal ball from Miller reared shoulder-high, Denis shaped to hook it, but slipped on the wet grass, and fell on the stumps’ (Cardus 1978)
    Citation ‘I have seen a bunch of short-legs cower when a batsman shaped at a loose one, but kept my eye on Tony Lock and saw him bend at the waist a little and face it’ (James 1963)


  • abbreviation
    (written as SHAPE)
    supreme headquarters, Allied Powers in Europe
  • acronym forSupreme Headquarters, Allied Powers in Europe
    (written as SHAPE)
  • noun the main NATO headquarters in Europe.


  • noun the condition of someone’s health or fitness

Origin & History of “shape”

Shape goes back ultimately to the prehistoric Germanic base *skap- ‘form, create’, which also produced German schaffen and Swedish skapa ‘create, make’. ‘Create’ seems to have been a secondary meaning of the base, evolving out of an earlier ‘chop or dig out’, which probably gave rise to English scoop.